Patriots' defeat had Boston fans collectively questioning, 'Why don't we have players of that caliber?



Patriots’ defeat had Boston fans collectively questioning, ‘Why don’t we have players of that caliber?

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Certainly, here is the rewritten version

It’s a familiar cycle. Whenever a former Boston sports icon achieves something remarkable elsewhere, Bob Lobel’s phone starts buzzing incessantly.

Now 79 and retired, Lobel was the beloved sports anchor for Boston’s WBZ-TV. Over the years, he built a dedicated following and a repertoire of memorable gimmicks, including the trusty ‘Panic Button’ he’d press during tumultuous moments with the Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, or Patriots. However, it was his signature phrase that truly stuck:

‘Why can’t we acquire players like that?

The formula was straightforward. News would surface about a former Red Sox legend smashing a couple of home runs in a distant ballpark, or an ex-Bruin netting a hat trick for his new team. Perhaps a former Celtic would deliver an impressive triple-double, or a former Patriot would achieve present-day heroics in another corner of Football America. Then, as expected, Lobel would appear during the nightly newscast, calmly presenting the updates before dropping his iconic line, ‘Why can’t we acquire players like that?

Reflecting on the recent buzz from two days ago, the Las Vegas Raiders secured a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots.

The game itself didn’t necessarily impress in terms of aesthetics, although it did provide CBS with the opportunity to showcase Allegiant Stadium, the glitzy football palace set to host Super Bowl LVIII in February. Given CBS’s TV rights, Sunday’s broadcast served as a preliminary run-through, with both the Raiders and Patriots donning the attire of potential Super Bowl contenders. Nevertheless, the matchup offered a compelling narrative: the Raiders boasted a roster with numerous individuals deeply connected to the Patriots, including their coach, Josh McDaniels, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, longtime backup Brian Hoyer, and receiver Jakobi Meyers.

With all four playing pivotal roles in the Raiders’ triumph, a slew of perturbed and disillusioned Patriots fans found themselves echoing the sentiments of Bob Lobel.

RMy phone was constantly ringing on Sunday,” Lobel shared. “I had an inkling it would happen, especially with Garoppolo and Meyers involved.”

As the game unfolded and Meyers snagged a touchdown, the clamor amplified, particularly with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo repeatedly referencing the ex-Patriots during the broadcast. Lobel quipped, “Garoppolo to Meyers” triggered an inundation of messages.

Subsequently, Garoppolo exited the game due to a back injury, prompting Brian Hoyer, a seemingly perennial backup for New England, to step in. It didn’t take long for the 38-year-old Hoyer to demonstrate his enduring arm strength.

Why can’t we acquire players like that?

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Lobel chuckled, “They’ll probably etch that on my tombstone. Believe it or not, I’m reminded of that line every day. But this time, more so than usual. Sunday was the pinnacle.”

The echoes of Lobel’s catchphrase aren’t solely confined to Patriots fans; Red Sox enthusiasts have also summoned Lobel’s spirit throughout the MLB postseason.

“People have been asking me about Nathan Eovaldi with the Texas Rangers,” Lobel mentioned. “A few weeks back, it was all about J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts with the Dodgers, of course.”

Despite the resonance of his catchphrase, Lobel didn’t intend for it to become his trademark. It wasn’t a rehearsed act or something prewritten in the teleprompter. The phrase originated one night, inspired by the then-Red Sox prospect Jeff Bagwell, who was traded to the Houston Astros for Larry Andersen by late Sox general manager Lou Gorman in 1990.

Reflecting on the origins, Lobel reminisced, “It was Bagwell’s first season with the Astros, and he hit a game-winning home run or something. I used the line, ‘Why can’t we get players like that?’ It was just me being cheeky on television. That’s how it all started.

The catchphrase gained traction and soon became his signature move. Lobel often employed it with different names in different sports whenever the moment called for it, always tying it back to an exhilarating Bagwell highlight.

And despite Gorman’s good-natured attitude, he would occasionally request Lobel to refrain from using the line. Lobel chuckled, “We had multiple discussions about it. He’d say, ‘You know, I wish you’d stop saying that,’ and I’d reply, ‘I can’t. It’s too good.’ It wasn’t meant to mock Lou. He teased me about it for years. I always reminded him that Bagwell wasn’t the only one it applied to.”

On Sunday, it certainly applied to McDaniels, Garoppolo, Meyers, and Hoyer.

(Top photo of the Raiders’ Jakobi Meyers catching a touchdown in the second quarter: Candice Ward / USA Today)


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